What We Have Learned About NFL Totals After Two Weeks
by Mike Hayes - 09/20/2006
When talking about total plays in the NFL, certain teams immediately come to mind as obvious under plays and others as overs, but after two weeks of play this season, some of those preconceived notions could be headed for the scrap heap.
Unders were 9-6-1 last week and are now a solid 21-10-1 on the year, which translates to a profit of about $1,000 assuming a $100 bet on each number. Logic tells us this will even out over the course of the season as the books learn more about the teams and the totals become more solid. This makes the week three games all the more interesting because in spite of the early season rash of unders, the average opening point total is up slightly over last week.
The Bears have been one of the teams associated with under plays -- for good reason -- as they posted a 5-10-2 O/U mark last season. This was due just as much to the suffocating Chicago defense as it was to an offense that looked like it was run from a high school play book. Pinnacle Sportsbook has set the total for Sunday's Bears-Vikings game at 33, which has been the norm for a game involving the Chicago. While the Bears defense will still hold teams at bay offensively, this is clearly a different Chicago team on the offensive side of the ball as their 60 points in two games proves.
Although they are traditionally known for their offense, the Chiefs were involved in just six overs last season. That is because the average total for a game involving KC was a robust 46.8 points. With back-up QB Damon Huard at the helm last week and with the ultra-conservative Herm Edwards roaming the sidelines, the total for last week's Kansas City/Denver game was set at 38 and the result was a 9-6 Denver win. The last time the total for a game involving the Chiefs was set as low as 38 was opening week in 2002 when the number was 36 for a 40-39 Chiefs win over the Browns.
With no Curtis Martin and nothing but questions surrounding Chad Pennington's health, the New York Jets appeared to be an under player's dream team. While this might in fact prove to be the case, the offense has been surprisingly good and at least partially responsible for successful overs in games against the Titans and Patriots. Even the most optimistic of Jets fans could not have predicted that after two weeks Pennington would be third in the NFL in passing yards and that Laverneus Coles would be tops in receiving yards. This is precisely what team brass envisioned when the brought Pennington's favorite target back to New York. However, the duo face the toughest test of their reunion when they meet the Bills in Buffalo for this week's match-up where the total has been set at 34.5.
No one has figured out what to make of the Broncos yet. After posting a 10-8 O/U record last season Denver has scored just 19 points in two games thus far this year. As a result, Denver has been involved in two games that have gone under. If the Broncos offense couldn't get on track against the Rams or Chiefs, you have to wonder how good it really is. A great deal should be learned after this week's game at New England where the point total has been set at 39.
The Rams are so far a mystery as well. The usually potent St. Louis offense needed just 18 points to upset Denver in week one and only managed 13 in dropping last week's game at San Francisco. The total for this week's game at Arizona has been set at 45, which along with the Giants-Seahawks game is the highest number on the board. The Cards scored 34 in an opening week win against the 49'ers but managed just 10 last week against the Seahawks.
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